Harlequin Beetle

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We have been gardening for three years now and have had little or no pests to deal with up until now. As of this week the dreaded Harlequin Beetle has arrived in our garden and in full force.

We do not use any chemicals or pesticides in our garden so for now we are going to just have to resort to picking them as we see them. I know that this ultimately futile in the long run because we just don’t have the time to spend in the garden 24 hours a day and they do.

So Google here we come looking for an organic alternative as to how to control them. I have heard that chickens and birds do not like to eat them because they are part of the stink bug family and emit an odor that is displeasing to them. However guinea hens are more aggressive and will eat them, at least that is what I have heard.

But since we live in a neighborhood that does not allow chickens, we are going to have to look for another organic way as to how to control them.

If any one has had any success as to how to control them organically, I would love to hear about it.

Thank you for any advice that you might be able to share!!!

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Why does the enemy have to be so cute?

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For the past two weeks something has been feasting on our kale patch. While out doing some weeding in the garden this morning, we found the culprits, two little cotton tail bunnies to be exact. 

Why does the enemy have to be so cute!

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Harvest or let go to seed !

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It’s that time of season in our garden when we have to make a decision as to how much we harvest and how much seed we want to save for the future.

Since we are new to gardening as of 2013 and have spent the majority of our time on design, soil quality and vegetable varieties. We haven’t invested the time up till now into building up our seed bank, so we have decided to make this year 2015 be the year that we allow a portion of our garden to go to seed and save them for future harvest’s .

The seed saving season in the garden is just as wonderful and beautiful as the growing and harvesting season. Each plant variety goes to seed a little differently than another with different flower colors, some have blooms and some are bulbs.

Here are some pictures of our garden in transition going from harvest to seed and garlic bulbs harvested and curing for next years crop.

Egyptian Walking Onions creating new bulbs.

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White Onion

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Swiss Chard

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Cherry Belle Radish

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Red Onion

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Garlic bulbs harvested and curing for next year!

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Lightening

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Courtesy of and reshared from one of our local news stations, a photo from the storm a few nights ago. Not sure who took it but it was taken with multiple shots and is a beautiful picture of what kind of lightening storms we can get here in the springs.

Mrs Gonzales Harvesting Pea’s 2015

Mrs Gonzales was out harvesting pea’s today.

This year we planted four different varieties of Pea’s, Amish Snap, Champion of England, Cascadia and Sugar Snap.

The Cascadia variety did the best, the plants are loaded with pea pods. Next would be Champion of England, Amish Snap and then sugar snap. It is hard to say which one tastes better, they are all are so delicious.

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The champion of England pea pods are huge.

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Rainbows

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Hail Storm June 25, 2015

We got another round of hail again tonight, amazing how quick it comes down and then it is done.

Lorz Italian Garlic Harvest 2015

Finally after 8 months of waiting we were able to harvest our 1st variety of garlic today June 24, 2015 – Lorz Italian.

This particular variety of garlic grew well in our soil, the bulbs looked healthy and beautiful. Now to let them cure for a bit and soon we will be able to see how they taste.

Garlic harvest 2015 - Lorz Italian 01

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Coffee Grounds In Our Garden

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One of my favorite soil amendments or soil fertilizers that I use in our garden is used brewed coffee grounds. My wife and I love to drink coffee and have plenty of coffee grounds left over each day that we store for future use.

Used brewed coffee grounds are nearly pH neutral with a range between 6.5 and 6.8 with 7 being neutral. Also 1 pound of used brewed coffee grounds contains approximately 9 grams of nitrogen and contain traces of potassium and phosphorus.

We use coffee grounds on our compost bin and directly in the garden on our Bok Choy, Collards, Lettuce, Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumbers, Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Rhubarb, Sweet Corn, Squash, Turnips, Blueberries, Strawberries, etc.

Our coffee brew consists of 2 large hand fulls of used brewed coffee grounds to a 5 gallon bucket of water. Stir let sit over night and then pour a dressing of our brew to our plants at root level every few weeks.

Here are a couple of pictures showing how we make the brew or coffee tea slurry.

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After making the slurry or coffee tea, we pour it in the root zone of our Broccoli

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Brussel Sprouts

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Sweet Corn

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Squash, etc.

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So if you are a coffee drinker don’t throw away your coffee grounds, you have a valuable resource.

Garlic Scapes

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Today while working in the garlic patch we noticed that it was time to cut the garlic scapes off the garlic stems to keep encouraging growth to the bulb.

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